Another group of evangelical organizations has been tossed from campus, this time at Georgetown University. While most evangelical organizations are banned because of the unpardonable sin of actually wanting Christian members and/or leaders, this case is a bit different. Georgetown is of course a private, Catholic school, but it has opened itself up to multiple religious viewpoints and proudly proclaims its religious diversity. In fact, the campus ministry website begins with big bold letters proclaiming, “Welcome. Shalom. Assalamu-Alaikum” (so much for a “distinctively Catholic” identity). The university also has a full-time Rabbi to serve Jewish groups, a full-time Imam to serve Muslim students, and has an ongoing relationship with Hillel, an outside Jewish student organization. Yet the university apparently does not want an evangelical presence on campus.
According to its spokesmen (see Post story above), the decision was made because of “communication and coordination problems” with the evangelicals. Yet this is not what Georgetown said in its official correspondence ejection notice. Here is the text:
Blessings and may God’s peace be upon you! We pray your summers have been restorative and affirming in life and ministry. The new academic year is already upon us, and we are thanking God for another year.
As we shared in conversation at the close of the Spring semester, we spent the 2005-2006 academic year evaluating many areas of Protestant Ministry’s mission and outreach at Georgetown University, including that of our Affiliated Ministries. After much laboring in prayers and conversations with ministerial leaders, Protestant Ministry has decided to move in another direction for the 2006-2007 academic year.
As a result of our new direction for the upcoming academic year, we have decided to not renew any covenant agreements with any of the Affiliated Ministries. This will become effective immediately. As any previous covenant agreements ended with the 2005-2006 academic year, your ministries will no longer be allowed to hold any activity or presence (i.e. bible studies, retreats with Georgetown students, Mid-week worship services, fellowship events, move-in assistance, SAC Fair, etc.) on campus. As well, there will be no Affiliated Ministry presence or participation at our annual Campus Ministry Open House held at the end of August.
Additionally, all websites linking your ministries to a presence at Georgetown University will need to be modified to reflect the terminated relationship. Your ministries are not to publicize in any literature, media, advertisement, etc. that Georgetown University is or will be an active ministry site for your ministry/church/denomination.
“While we realize this comes as a great disappointment, please know we are moving forward with this decision only after much dialogue with the Lord. We have enjoyed working with your ministries in various capacities over the years and will always keep your ministry in our prayers.
Now I’ve seen derecognition letters before, but this one takes the cake. “Blessings and may God’s peace be on you!” . . . Now get off campus! One almost doesn’t know what to say. A university that proclaims itself wide open to free expression has tossed Christian groups from campus with no real explanation (but with good wishes and a promise to keep the ministries in their prayers). Once again, it appears that a modern liberal university’s commitment to diversity, tolerance, and the free exchange of ideas does not extend to evangelical Christians.